Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

tower-of-thornsTower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim #2
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Setting: Ancient Ireland
Published by Roc, 2015
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Nov 3, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
448 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn’s bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim.

Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land—one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, it threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. With no ready solutions to offer, the prince consults Blackthorn and Grim.

As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of this puzzle together, it’s apparent that a powerful adversary is working behind the scenes. Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle—a conflict in which even the closest of friends can find themselves on opposite sides.

Initial impressions

  • I love this series! So happy to read more about Blackthorn and Grim.


  • When I first heard about the thorns around the tower I thought of Sleeping Beauty. And the book has a little of that vibe.
  • We find out a lot more about Grim in this book. I really like him. He’s steadfast and loyal and smart–though he and many others don’t think so. He’s used to himself and others thinking he’s stupid.
  • Blackthorn is very troubled through much of this book. Both Blackthorn and Grim still have a long journey before they are healed–if they can heal. During a lot of the book they keep secrets from each other.
  • As the book opens Blackthorn and Grim are quite content with their lives in Winterfalls, but, of course, that changes quickly.
  • First, Blackthorn and Grim travel to court to spend the summer with Prince Oran and his wife. Flidais is pregnant with her first child and wants Blackthorn there to make sure all goes well.
  • Then, Lady Geiléis comes to court and requests help. A monster is creating havoc in her land–constantly crying and howling everyday from a tower on an island in the middle of a river. This causes a blight on the land and the people. She has tried to drive the monster away, but the tower is surrounded by an impassable barrier of thorns.
  • Lady Geiléis wants someone–Blackthorn–to travel back to her home with her to help break the curse which apparently can only be broken at Midsummer.
  • We know pretty much from the beginning Lady Geiléis isn’t entirely truthful, but it’s not until the end of the book we find out exactly what she withholds.
  • Blackthorn doesn’t want to go at first, but ultimately decides to.
  • Blackthorn has also met an old friend from her childhood who had introduced her to her husband. They were all rebels and had similar beliefs. She thought he was dead so is overjoyed to see him again and talk about old times.
  • I like that the characters are well-rounded. They have good and bad in them. That makes for a more complex story.
  • There’s a hint of romance in this book and I’m not sure how I feel about that.


  • I never got a real idea who Lady Geiléis is. Blackthorn questions some of her actions, but we never get any real answers about some of her actions and character.

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  So happy to read the second book in the series. Even though I had questions about Lady Geiléis I still enjoyed this book a lot and look forward to the next book.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Juliet Marillier has been a full-time writer for about twelve years, after working as a music teacher and public servant. She was born in Dunedin, New Zealand – the most Scottish city outside Scotland itself – but now lives in Western Australia. Juliet’s novels combine historical fiction, folkloric fantasy, romance and family drama. The strong elements of history and folklore in her work reflect her lifelong interest in both fields. However, her stories focus above all on human relationships and the personal journeys of the characters.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

4 thoughts on “Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier”

  1. Ahhhh!! I’m still waiting for my copy of Dreamer’s Pool to arrive 😥 I feel so behind on Juliet Marillier awesomeness. Must rectify the situation asap!


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